Heartki

Heart Ki

Happy Not-Christmas!

It’s perhaps true the zeitgeist of our day is more concerned with more pressing matters, which likely relate to, for example, how the masses continue to choose self-serving politicians; the protests taking place all over the globe for justice and freedom; the system being purposely designed to keep man restrained, under control.

Anyway, I though I’d write about Christmas!

Maybe not the most pressing matter, I know. But still something I wanted to write about.

The Winter solstice, the day of the year with the least amount of daylight, had always been celebrated by many cultures of the globe. It marks a transition in seasons and the beginning of Winter. You would gather, celebrate, provide offerings, and ask for blessings and abundance to endure the harder parts of the year. It would also be seen as a moment of regeneration, appreciation, and perhaps spiritual introspection as well, depending on how a specific culture interpreted these things. Christmas, for all effects and purposes, is the take of the Western culture of this celebration.

Christmas had been a gathering of family, and also, a celebration of, and for, children. Receiving presents and toys, together with the story of the man dressed in red, coming from the north pole flying through the air in red coming at midnight, all combined would provide for a magical moment of anticipation, expectation, joy. Maybe someone more ‘spiritually insightful’, looking at the symbols in depth, would point out hidden meanings in these things; or maybe label the act of giving presents to children as materialism, consumerism. But you see, the practical experience for the children, and for the family, is what matters. Family is truly what always was at the core of the celebration. And that hasn’t changed much.

There’s nothing wrong with the joy, anticipation, marvel, enthusiasm, and the memories created in childhood, deriving from Christmas. Everyone has a memory of their Christmas-es. That practical experience and memory is, for me, the true meaning of Christmas, in an energy or spiritual sense if you will. The event gets several coatings, it dresses in many ways, but at the end what you have is a celebration of family, a celebration of innocence, a opening of the heart, and special moments and memories, hopefully.

And while you may not turn back the clock and become the child you were, and re-experience those moments, if you happen to be in the role of having children of your own, you now have the opportunity to provide similar moments to your own children, participating in the same process now in the role of the giver. You can still find a sense of joy in allowing them joy, and their own memories.

But I do feel in all of this that Christmas has changed, quite a lot.

That Time of the Year

It’s that exact moment you start worrying about the process of buying the presents. When you will do it, which day, where. It’s going to take some planning, depending on how many presents you have to get. It needs to go into your schedule. It’s also not so much a pleasurable prospect to begin with, rather more of an obligation. So you may delay, postpone a little. Even before the process started there’s already stress and tension.

When the process begins, you’re going to go to the places where you’re buying the presents. Out of convenience you’ll tend to go where you can buy them in one go, more often than not that’s going to be a mall, or otherwise a shopping location of some description. Many will also do the same. So you’ll have masses of others chasing after presents along with you as well.

You’ll always have to be careful in your present planning with the sensitivities of others. This is one of the big energy expenditures of this process. Chances are you’re avoiding showing preferences – for one kid over the other, or one parent, aunt, uncle, etc. – by buying one of them something more flashy, expensive, or thoughtful than the other. You have to be careful and mindful of what the presents will mean. You also have the implicit obligation of buying presents to everyone. It might not just be about the family attending the celebration, it’s also the family members that might not be there, but might be upset if you don’t buy them anything. It’s also sometimes buying presents for the co-workers, when the company organizes it as well. So there’s presents to buy virtually everyone.

So in the process there’s all of this balancing act going on. It’s not simply about gifting presents, it’s also how the emotional/social impact on those who receive them, and everyone around them. There’s a whole “network of expectation” at play one has to consider, formed by the possible impact the presents will have in the perceptions of others. And this is not to mention other, more serious issues that can be present, such as for example if you’re under financial strain. If you’re struggling with debt, and/or barely making end’s meet. You may not really be able to afford (financially or mentally) to engage in the activity of buying presents, but then you also don’t want to partake in your struggle to others – in what’s supposed to be a happy, celebratory time.

Then it will all repeat the next year.

Heart

Now, you might say a large part of the Christmas process, while a chore, is necessary. It’s socially and culturally important. It’s for the family. And it’s showing appreciation for others. And you’d probably be right.

But in all of this, in the tension, in the obligation, in the stress, in the rush at the mall, where’s the heart?

In not wanting to engage with the process – yet having to do so anyway – and in the large amounts of stress, tension, obligation, and peer and cultural pressure, there’s little room left for the heart. There is, in fact, dissonance with the heart. For if you’re doing something against your don’t want to, out of obligation, and with an energy tension and stress throughout, where is the heart in that? No, seriously: where is it?

Christmas is meant to be a celebration of opening the heart, regeneration, and counting the blessings. But it gradually became just another manifestation, another reflection, of living one’s life in dissonance, outside, away, from one’s own heart.

The current version of Christmas is purely an economic device. It’s simply one more festivity/period out of a sequence of many, the main purpose of which is to keep you buying stuff. That’s all there is to it. Nothing more.

It has zero to do with the solstice, with Winter, with Christ, or with the heart, the magic, the energy, or the family. Its only purpose is to keep the economy rolling. It’s an annual period of stress and tension involving you flocking to the shopping mall to buy things out of obligation. In the mall there are throngs of people rushing to buy things for others – but how many of them are with their hearts open? How many are in joy? It’s all sterile, senseless, empty of emotion. The time of the year is there, but the actual Christmas isn’t. It’s Not-Christmas.

This is, of course, a blanket statement. You’ll surely be able to enumerate exceptions to this if you want to. You’re show examples of genuine giving and magic; there will be a couple of people to whom you’re delighted to offer presents; there will be examples of kindness, caring, reaching out. And the more the merrier! But the presence of some doesn’t eliminate the rest. Those are going to be welcome exceptions in what otherwise is a sea of heartlessness.

Practical Considerations

Even if you have, let’s say, a more informed or insightful perception on this matter, and you understand there’s practical dissonance of the heart in the process currently, you’re still going to be surrounded by a few others, and those will be human beings with a degree of feelings and expectations. Unless you choose a hermit’s life, and you literally go live alone to a cave or to a top of a mountain by yourself, it’s otherwise going to be difficult to to disengage completely, such as saying for example “I’m not going to give anything to anyone at all!”

You can try! But you might be losing a little too much in the process. This type of separatist attitude, to whichever degree you consider it, can and will create a little too much of a fissure between you and all those around you. As a human being, you don’t live on a bubble all on your own.

Consider that even if you’re very ‘spiritual’ and/or progressive in your awareness and choices, it can still be tough to perceive someone else didn’t consider you, didn’t think of you, enough to give you that little bit of thought and consideration that goes in buying a present to another. In it’s own way, that is also a form of coldness, of closing the heart. I’m not a proponent of any spiritual or close-to-the-heart principle that’s not practical; that is detached and cut off from the context surrounding you.

Christmas is a celebration which has energy/spiritual roots (where applicable and depending on the culture of course). It’s a cultural thing. Such cultural aspects of society are difficult to reformulate or even eliminate completely – perhaps that may not even be the point at all.

I do believe, much like with many other aspects of society, Christmas is perhaps in the process of being reformulated. At least it’s how I think of it. As the collective consciousness is gradually rising and becoming more sensitive, individuals will be acknowledging how parts and pieces of their lives are in dissonance with their hearts and essences, and aren’t a reflection of their true selves. In the process it will hopefully be noticed how the senseless rushing to the mall, the shopping, of our current ‘version’ of Christmas, has nothing to do with the energy of the season and with the truth of the heart. Individuals will gradually, consciously and actively, choose what the celebration of Christmas means to them – if anything – how it is part of their lives, how they participate in it, and with whom. Leading, over time, to adjust of collective expectations about the season accordingly.

If I had any part in that adjustment, I’d perhaps point in the direction of narrowing down a core family group you’d elects to spend your celebration, and/or exchange presents with. Christmas is of the family, and of the children. So it would make sense, for example, to keep the exchange of present within the closest family, and anyone who for one reason or another becomes part of it. This could be exchanging presents between the couple, parents offering presents to their children, and perhaps also parents exchanging presents with their own parents. Then, even if you host a gathering of the extended family, which is perfectly legitimate, you’d still uphold this principle i.e. not participate in the expectation of offering and receiving things to/from everyone. Now, I know the tricky bit would precisely be what the definition of “core” family was. But, the point being that the definition of it resided in what you decided, not by the rules of the rest of the world.

In adulthood, presents naturally become more about meaning, intention, thoughtfulness, rather than the quantity of them. You don’t need any more socks or cologne from the aunt/uncle you rarely see the rest of the year. You, your presence, warmth, open heart, are going the best things you can share with others, and others are meant to appreciate, on the occasion.

Happy Not-Christmas!

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